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Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialS ystem--and Themselves Paperback – May 11, 2011
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"...his action scenes are intimate and engaging..."
-The New Yorker
"Sorkin's prodigious reporting and lively writing put the reader in the room for some of the biggest-dollar conference calls in history. It's an entertaining book, brisk book...Sorkin skillfully captures the raucous enthusiasm and riotous greed that fueled this rational irrationality."
-The New York Times Book Review
"...brings the drama alive with unusual inside access and compelling detail...A deeply researched account of the financial meltdown."
"...meticulously researched...told brilliantly. Other blow-by-blow accounts are in the works. It is hard to imagine them being this riveting."
"Sorkin's densely detailed and astonishing narrative of the epic financial crisis of 2008 is an extraordinary achievement that will be hard to surpass as the definitive account...as a dramatic close-up, his book is hard to beat."
"Sorkin's book, like its author, is a phenom...an absolute tour de force."
-The American Prospect
"Andrew Ross Sorkin pens what may be the definitive history of the banking crisis."
-The Atlantic Monthly
"Andrew Ross Sorkin has written a fascinating, scene-by-scene saga of the eyeless trying to march the clueless through Great Depression II."
"...Sorkin has succeeded in writing the book of the crisis, with amazing levels of detail and access."
"Sorkin can write. His storytelling makes "Liar's Poker" look like a children's book."
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book is very readable and even at 539 pages, a person can finish it quickly. Another plus is that unlike most NY Times reporters, the author keeps most of his opinions out of the story until the last 2 pages.
His opinions are:
The government allowing Lehman to go into bankruptcy was the catalyst that caused the floodgates to open. This is probably why he spends a lot of the book developing the Lehman story.
He's ambivalent about whether the government players could have prevented the collapse of the banks or even if they did the right things when they did act. But he's quite clear that more banking regulation was needed then and is needed now.
One can disagree with his opinions, but he does well to leave most of them till the end of the book.
A few criticisms:
As mentioned, he does not discuss why exactly these events happened. In the epilogue, he briefly mentions 4 events that percolated over 10 years that conspired to cause the perfect storm in 2008. But he could have spent a chapter (prologue) describing these events and how they conspired to cause the problem. Apparently he's not a banker or an academic, so maybe he didn't feel qualified to do this.
Second criticism: In a few places prior to his epilogue, he lets us know his (negative) opinion of some players. It's obvious his disdain for Chris Cox and Sheila Bair. But he's particularly vitriolic towards the Wall Street Journal editorial page.Read more ›
But probably the most interesting parts were how the different personalities were reacting while the ground was shifting under them. At the peak, many of the people involved were literally working 24 hours a day highlighted by a phone call made to Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citibank at 3 am telling how a deal he made at midnight for Wachovia had instead been trumped by another and that that deal had already been signed and blessed by the government. How major decisions were being made on the run and how solid institutions became institutions on the brink in a matter of hours.
The book also explains how companies like Barclays and China Investment Corporation were working behind the scenes as well how Paulson, Geithener and others in the government were scrambling to keep things from collapsing. There is a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking going on and some of the things these people did may not have been the best, but they pulled it off and we should all be grateful.
But there some bad guys, namely the short sellers and as usual some in congress. The book makes clear that out of control short selling added fuel to the flames that were occurring and that when we were facing this emergency some members of Congress were focused on their own butt instead of doing what was needed.
There is a huge cast in this book and its is sometimes hard to keep the people and their roles straight, but make the effort. You will be rewarded.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this book in hardcover, and it was Too Big To Hold. Then purchased it in kindle form and nearly found it Too Big To Read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Barbara E. Goll
Sorkin's writing is compelling; he provides very credible details but understands the larger picture; and the subject is of interest to me.Published 1 month ago by Robert
good detailed history, but no presentation of why things went wrongPublished 2 months ago by Peter G
“Too Big to Fail” is an altogether excellent book by financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. It’s a compelling narrative that tells the story of how the nation’s largest and most... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mike Powers
One of the best depictions of the financial crisis. Andrew Ross Sorkin details the story incredibly well but in layman's terms. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer